I remember when Knights head football coach George O’Leary told his ball club in the 2013 season, “Nobody respects you guys”. Well, the Knights football team played with a chip on their shoulder and proved everybody they can compete with big name teams after finishing the season 12-1 (8-0) in the American Athletic Conference in 2013. So, just how much respect does the UCF Knights football team have? They have so much respect that the Heisman Trophy winner, “Famous” Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles said he wished, “Our team could play UCF. They can play with anybody, and I respect UCF”. The Knights silenced the world after putting up 52 points against a high-scoring Baylor Bears football team that was averaging over 53 points a game in the 2013 season. The 52 points UCF put up are the most they’ve scored against a ranked opponent. Head coach George O’Leary lost some playmakers on both ends of the football. Lets take a closer look of who’s coming back for the 2014 season:
The Knights return ten defensive starters that include defensive backs Jacoby Glenn and Clayton Geathers who became All-Conference selections. Geathers had 100 tackles and two interceptions during the 2013 season. He started all 13 games last season and will be a key to this UCF defense in the fall after receiving UCF’s “Most Improved Defensive Player”. Redshirt freshman Jacoby Glenn has showed a lot of promise in his first season collecting 52 tackles, two interceptions, and two sacks. Glenn was voted on to the All-American Athletic Conference first team, and was selected to the Freshman All-America team. Senior linebacker Terrance Plummer is a player who’s motor never stops running! This will be a player to keep an eye on. He led the team with 110 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Plummer seems to always have a knack for always being around the football. No wonder he was the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP!
On the offensive side, former Knights quarterback Blake Bortles has to be the biggest loss. Other than Bortles not returning, junior running back Storm Johnson declared for the NFL Draft, and the McCray twins (Justin, Jordan) were two talented offensive guards who won’t be back as well. The quarterback position will be an area of concern due to the lack of experience. Sophomore quarterback Justin Holman looks like he’ll be taking the snaps heading into fall since he received very little playing time last season. Holman played in three games last season going 9-14 for 75 yards, 1 td, and an interception. He’ll have plenty of weapons around him which includes wide receivers Rannell Hall, J.J. Worton, and Brashad Perryman. Sophomore half back William Stanback looks like he’ll be a stud as well after finishing his freshman year with 443 yards and 6 touchdowns.
It’ll be interesting to see how quarterback Justin Holman pans out if he ends up being the starting quarterback for UCF in the fall. He has plenty of talent around him like I’ve already stated. If he can get the offense going, there’s no doubt UCF can make another run at another BCS game. The defense is definitely going to be the strength of this team and I expect every last defensive player to play big day and day out so UCF can have yet another successful season.